ADB lends US$1.5 bil to Philippines to fund P655.6-billion Covid-19 response

  • Philippines
  • Friday, 24 Apr 2020

MANILA, April 24 (The Philippine Inquirer/ANN) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has given the green light to the $1.5-billion quick-disbursing loan for the Philippines, its host-country, to aid in the fight against the COVID-19 disease.

This is the largest loan given to the Philippines by the ADP so far.

“The ADB’s COVID-19 active response and expenditure support (Cares) program will support the government’s measures to help its citizens overcome the health, economic, and social costs of the pandemic by helping finance the country’s COVID-19 response programs.

"Government actions include increased funding for social protection, especially for women who are primary household and family caregivers; small business relief assistance; and wider health measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the country, ” the Manila-based multilateral lender said in a statement Friday.

The government’s COVID-19 relief package includes well-designed and targeted support to Filipino families, including a P205-billion ($4-billion) emergency subsidy program covering 18 million families engaged in the informal sector and a P51-billion small business wage subsidy to provide a lifeline for 3.4 million workers in the formal sector. These programs cover 85 percent of all Filipino families, ” the ADB said.

“The Cares program will establish a country engagement framework focused on supporting policy dialogue with the government as it implements its fiscal response program and bounce back strategy. The ADB coordinated with other development partners in preparing the Cares program for the Philippines, ” it added.

In a virtual press briefing, ADB country director for the Philippines Kelly Bird said that the Cares program will support the Philippines’ P655.6-billion ($12.8-billion) response program across five interventions against COVID-19, including scaling-up medical response, social assistance, small business relief program, support to agriculture and other economic sectors, and local government support.

Bird said that since the ADB’s financial assistance will go to the national budget, it will be up to the Philippine government to choose in which specific programs and projects the money will be spent.

“This assistance is our largest budget support loan to the Philippines ever and reflects our strong commitment to providing cornerstone assistance swiftly and effectively to help the country mitigate the pandemic’s devastating impact on Filipinos, particularly the poor and vulnerable, including women, ” ADB president Masatsugu Asakawa said.

“Amid a global pandemic, the most vulnerable are developing countries, especially those with densely populated cities such as the Philippines. We commend the government for its leadership and clear actions in containing the spread of COVID-19, including scaling up its health response, enforcing an enhanced community quarantine in Luzon to save lives, and rolling out subsidy programs to affected segments of the population, ” Asakawa added.

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